Each year the FBCR congregation sets aside a few weeks for reflection. We reflect collectively on who we are as a church, and we reflect individually on how we relate to the church at large. From now through Sunday, November 7, 2021 I want to invite our faith community to consider broadly what it means to live in community together. Toward that end, we will highlight nine different facets of community, nine ways by which our community takes shape.
In El Salvador a civil war has been replaced by gang violence. I don’t live in El Salvador and don’t know much about El Salvador and, as a guess, not many of you listening do either. And yet, our faith calls us to not only care about the suffering happening there, but to be a part of alleviating it.
In Guatamala corporations from wealthy countries exploit the land and resources that belong to the people. And my faith calls me to care and to do something about that.
In Laos and Thailand children are among the most vulnerable and many fall prey to abuse and violence. I’m called to care and be a part of the repair.
Here in my own city folks suffer the indignity and pain of homelessness. I’m supposed to be part of fixing that too.
Both the magnitude of the suffering and injustice people in our world face and the sheer diversity of kinds of suffering and injustice pose a huge problem for those of us who believe we are called by God to be part of redemption in the world. Standing with people in suffering and advocating for and working toward new ways forward requires an enormous amount of time, energy, and resource to say nothing of a high degree of skill and dedication. We don’t all have those things to contribute in any one area much less in all of the areas that need attention. But still, following Jesus, we believe, means doing just that. So what’s the answer?
You guessed it. Community.
At FBCR, because we have a dedicated congregation who share resources with one another we are able to help support a number of organizations and individuals who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of justice, peace, and wellbeing in our community and around the world. But we don’t just write checks. Financial support is well and good of course, but we also seek opportunities to serve directly whether that be in direct support or through advocacy or volunteer projects. Our Missions Committee at FBCR are the folks who lead our efforts connecting our available funding with the causes that need it most, considering how we might be able to support various efforts, and planning those opportunities.
None of these things would be possible if not for our ability to share the load with one another and with other churches locally and around the nation. That’s right, our connection to American Baptist Churches USA means that we’re also a part of efforts happening nationally and around the world. Because we exist in community we have a more robust, well resourced, longer lasting response to the ills of the world than any of us would have individually.
So here’s some food for thought:
-What do you know about the efforts that American Baptists are making and the FBCR is making to be present to those in need? Do you think it’s important to know a thing or two about those efforts, and if so, how can you stay up to date on them?
-How can you imagine a group of people bound together in faith might make a difference in their community aside from funding?
Here’s a possible point of action for you:
Get involved at some level in the work FBCR and our partner organizations and churches are doing at some level. If you don’t know much about what’s going on, take a look at our website and familiarize yourself. You can find a list of organizations and initiatives we support at www.rochesterfbc.org/what-we-do. Have any questions or see an area you might like to be involved? Contact me by email or phone and I’ll connect you with our Missions Committee.
I’m grateful to you for taking the time to consider this facet and of community and others.